June 2013 Archives

Quality Management a Priority for Online Education at the U of M Crookston

It has been 20 years since the University of Minnesota Crookston became the first lap top university in the country, and 12 years since the campus awarded the first online bachelor's degree. These years of experience have created a depth of knowledge in online education leading to a presentation recently on best practices at the 2013 Annual Conference of the Higher Learning Commission in Chicago, Ill., in April. 

Sue Brorson, professor and head of the Business Department at the U of M Crookston was joined by Associate Professor Bruce Brorson and Assistant Professor Denis Maier for their presentation "Quality Management for Online Education: Best Practices & Implementation Challenges." The focus of the conference presentation provided background on online and quality at the Crookston campus; identified the pillars of the U of M Crookston quality system; and reflected on the lessons learned. 

Maier, who serves as chair of the quality management committee, says the campus has gained a great deal of understanding about what a student needs to be successful online. "The system we have for assuring quality here is a work in progress," he says. "But, applying best practices in course design and instructional delivery while capturing performance statistics gives us a view of how both faculty and students are meeting and exceeding expectations." 
The campus strives for a unique online learning experience that is at the same level of quality that on-campus students have. Online students have unique considerations: many of them must balance work and family alongside their educational pursuit. Learning online allows them flexibility to manage their time and obligations with their coursework. 

Because the online students don't have the same kind of in-person access to faculty that on-campus students have, one of the highest priorities is a timely response with helpful feedback from the faculty member when students have questions. The quality management committee provides support and also mentors instructors while monitoring quality and setting expectations for faculty who teach online. The committee is comprised of four faculty members, an online advisor, and representatives from the Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology and the Center for Adult Learning. 

The quest for quality is paying off. Student satisfaction is high and online growth continues to increase on the Crookston campus, but the quality management committee has no intention of resting on laurels. "Quality must be a continuous goal," Sue Brorson says. "We are committed to excellence and to our students whether they are on campus or online. We want the best learning environment and that drive to offer the best, keeps us vigilant. It takes leadership and support from the chancellor on down."

Background
Of the eleven majors offered by the Crookston campus, six of them are offered through the Business Department including accounting, management, manufacturing management, marketing, quality management, and the latest addition, finance. Currently, planning is underway to offer the sport and recreation management major online. For more information, visit www.umcrookston.edu/online. 

Today the University of Minnesota Crookston delivers 28 bachelor's degree programs, 20 minors, and 39 concentrations on campus--as well as 11 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Susan Brorson, Ph.D., head, Business Department, 218-2818186 (sbrorson@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

Research Collaboration Explores the Future of eBooks

Faculty inquiry often leads to innovative solutions in the scholarship of teaching and learning. 
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Technology has changed the classroom in many ways.  For University of Minnesota Crookston faculty members Sharon Neet and Sue Brorson, these changes are at the heart of some ongoing research on the role of eBooks in education at the university.

Their research provided them an opportunity to collaborate with Anders Berggren, an information technology professional at the U of M Twin Cities and an online instructor for the Crookston campus in software engineering.

The investigation began when Neet and Berggren began discussing the possibility of preserving and distributing old, out-of-print books that are no longer constrained by copyright. 

With Berggren's help on the technology side, Neet, who teaches history on the Crookston campus, made available as an eBook, Leaves of Life, a work originally published in 1912 by J. A. Wayland. It was the first foray into e-publishing for Neet, and it has fueled her curiosity. 
Interestingly, the University of Minnesota Crookston initiated a project exploring the use of tablet computers by faculty in spring 2012. This opportunity to use eBooks in the classroom together with Neet's interest in e-publishing was well-timed.

Brorson has a significant interest in eBooks particularly as head of the Business Department and as a longtime faculty member. Her department is also a leader in the effort to maintain the highest standard of quality for students learning online. 

"In fall 2012 according to our survey, the campus had 54 eBooks across 22 courses available to students on campus and online," Brorson said. "Cost for textbooks is more than $700 per semester and changes in the eBook world made offering textbooks as eBooks make sense. They are low cost and sometimes are available at no cost for students."

Early research shows that tablets or readers, i.e. iPad, Kindle, etc., are best suited for electronic textbook users. Students without a tablet were less like to enjoy the eBook experience. However, online students found them more desirable probably because they expect to access the information they need electronically.  

Berggren and Brorson joined Neet at a history conference in Omaha in March 2012 to present their respective work in the publishing and use of eBooks at the Missouri Valley History Conference. Interest in their presentation, "Books and eBooks: the future of textbooks and research materials," proved popular and that popularity will continue as publishers move toward more electronic access of textbooks. 

"The world of eBooks is changing things," Neet says. "This is a whole new paradigm for textbook use."

It also opens the door for anyone to publish as Neet explains, "Families can share a family cookbook or a family history in a whole new way. They are no longer restricted by printing costs or by having to learn to use publishing software. They can develop a Word® document, include photos if they want to, and publish it as an eBook. It is easy and anyone can do it."

The publishing tools are available free and are limited only by the available support for the device being used. Works that were once only part of a special collection and not available for interlibrary loan could become accessible to anyone through eBooks publishing. 

The Neet, Brorson, and Berggren collaboration represents interdisciplinarity and intercampus cooperation to move forward shared research and instructional material developments.  

Neet is working publishing her fifth book this summer--a 1920s marketing book. She combines her interest in history and eBooks to provide access to the very old books in a whole new way. Today's students will have the opportunity to read from an original text if it is available, and having them available makes them an exciting option for both instructor and student. 

Today the University of Minnesota Crookston delivers 28 bachelor's degree programs, 20 minors, and 39 concentrations on campus--as well as 11 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Susan Brorson, head, Business Department, 218-281-8186 (sbrorson@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

The Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA) Alumni Association welcomes alumni back to 
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the University of Minnesota Crookston campus on Saturday, June 29, 2013, for their annual reunion. Three outstanding alumni will be honored with the Top Aggie award, which is the highest honor a Northwest School alumnus can receive. The award recognizes alumni who have displayed exemplary commitment and service to community, church, education, family, or in their occupational field. 

The Top Aggies for 2013 are Lowell Hamrick '53, Warren, Minn.; Beulah (Stolaas) Vad '58, Oklee, Minn.; and Willie Huot '63, Grand Forks, N.D. These outstanding individuals will be recognized during a special luncheon on Saturday. 

The NWSA was a residential high school located on the Crookston campus from 1906-68. The reunion is planned by the Office of Development & Alumni Relations in cooperation with the NWSA Alumni Association board and is always held the last Saturday in June. 

The NWSA alumni reunion, first held in 1918, brings back alumni from the Northwest School of Agriculture, a residential high school located on what is now the University of Minnesota Crookston campus. The NWSA graduated its first class of 8 students in 1909. 

Today the University of Minnesota Crookston delivers 28 bachelor's degree programs, 20 minors, and 39 concentrations on campus--as well as 11 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Corby Kemmer, director, development and alumni relations, 218-281-8434, (ckemmer@umn.edu ); Ruth Navarro, communications assistant, 218-281-8446, (nava0085@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

After a visit to his home country of Nigeria in May, 2013 graduate Abbey Wemimo reports the 
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completion of another Clean Water for Everyone (CWFE) project through the student organization, Enactus at the University of Minnesota Crookston. The completion of a project in the Bonjeh schools situated in Okokomaiko (PPL) Ojo Local Government Area in Lagos, Nigeria, is part of ongoing work in that country to provide clean water. 

"Our themes for the work in Lagos, Nigeria, this year were water, sanitation, and education and Enactus took several steps in order to bring this work to fruition," says Abbey, who spearheaded the effort. 

A 1600-gallon water system was installed providing access to water for more than 1,000 school students coupled with another 15,500 from the surrounding community receiving indirect benefit. They also renovated three toilet facilities and built two additional ones. Along with the work for increased access to clean water and sanitation, a reciprocal relationship with the school has resulted in one-year scholarships for 30 students in Bonjeh school. The average annual (three terms) school fees per student is $190. After a negotiation process with the principal and owners of the school, they agreed to award 30 Bonjeh School students one-year full scholarship. 

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This agreement means CWFE only paid 19% ($1300) and Bojeh schools invested $5700 in scholarship money bringing the project total to $7000. 

"The scholarship selection process was very competitive, as the students were required to submit an essay, a letter of recommendation, academic records, and a resume," Abbey says. "We received over 100 applications but painstaking selected 30 student based on the quality of their essay.

"Students of Bonjeh Schools will now have access to clean water, proper sanitation, and 30 students will have access to a one-year full scholarship, Abbey continues. This project would have been impossible without the boundless support of the Crookston community and the generous donations of people around the country. 

Abbey is deeply grateful on behalf of Clean Water for Everyone extends his gratitude to the University of Minnesota Crookston Encatus team, the Crookston community and the Clean Water for Everyone project team. 

Today the University of Minnesota Crookston delivers 28 bachelor's degree programs, 20 minors, and 39 concentrations on campus--as well as 11 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

In the photo, at right, is Abbey Wemimo standing near the new 1600-gallon water system installed near Bonjeh schools in Lagos, Nigeria. 

In the photo, at left, Abbey Wemimo with students who received scholarships as part of reciprocal relationship with Bonjeh school to provide 30 students with one-year scholarships. 

Contact: Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

Tim Moe, vice president of UMC Teambackers presented a $20,000 check to support Golden 
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Eagle athletics at the University of Minnesota Crookston. The presentation was made to U of M Crookston Chancellor Fred Wood to support scholarships for student-athletes.

"Financial support is the focus of UMC Teambackers and this organization has benefitted countless athletes since it was organized 21 years ago," says Bill Tyrrell, director of athletic fundraising. "I am grateful to everyone who invests in our student-athletes, and I value their support for Teambackers."

The Teambackers Club is an athletic promotion and fundraising organization for the U of M, Crookston. It operates in conjunction with the development office, athletic department, and the University of Minnesota Foundation. For the past 19 years the Teambackers Club has helped support athletic scholarships for student-athletes in 11 sports on the Crookston campus. 

Learn more about Teambackers by visiting www.goldeneaglesports.com/teambackers. 
Today the University of Minnesota Crookston delivers 28 bachelor's degree programs, 20 minors, and 39 concentrations on campus--as well as 11 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

In the photo, left to right, are Chancellor Fred Wood; Tim Moe, Teambacker vice president; and Corby Kemmer, director of development. 


Contact: Bill Tyrrell, director, athletic fundraising, 218-281-8436 (btyrrell@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

A new major in finance has been added to the portfolio of degrees offered in the Business Department at the University of Minnesota Crookston. The degree will be offered both on campus and online giving students the greatest flexibility. A minor in finance will also be offered.  The bachelor of science major and minor in finance were approved at the May meeting of the U of M Board of Regents, the University system's governing body. 

As an interdisciplinary major, the finance curriculum draws heavily from courses in business, general education, management, marketing, and accounting.  It is designed to help students understand the dimensions of performance and risk relevant to financial services within a company; assess consumer financial needs, describe and apply financial concepts, theories, and tools; and prepare personal financial plans.  

Students in the major will focus on the skills needed to qualify for entry-level employment positions such as financial analysts, personal financial advisors, actuaries, and other positions in securities, commodities, and financial services.  According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment projections, it is expected that the finance and insurance industry will increase the number of jobs by 9% from 2010 to 2020. Learn more about the major at www.umcrookston.edu/finance

Sue Brorson, head of the Business Department on the Crookston campus, is pleased with the addition. "Offering a degree in finance provides our students with another option for a career in a business field," Brorson says. "It is a major that will fill a need within an organization that is both relevant and critical to success. 

"Teaching contemporary financial measures of performance and risk as well as providing an understanding of how the financial services component industries interact with each other is an exciting opportunity for students and  will prove a benefit to their future employers."

A minor in humanities offered through the U of M Crookston Liberal Arts and Education Department was also approved at the May Board of Regents meetings, bringing the academic offerings to 28 majors, 20 minors, and 11 majors offered online.

Today the University of Minnesota Crookston delivers 28 bachelor's degree programs, 20 minors, and 39 concentrations on campus--as well as 11 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Sue Brorson, head, Business Department, 218-281-8186 (sbrorson@umn.edu);Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

Enjoy an afternoon of playing golf and supporting scholarships for student-athletes at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Organize a team and plan on participating in a series of golf tournaments planned for summer 2013 by the Office of Development & Alumni Relations. 

Anyone interested in playing should contact Bill Tyrrell, director of athletic fundraising, at 218-281-8436 (btyrrell@umn.edu) for details. The golf tournament schedule is as follows:

Thursday June 27 - Mark Olsonawski Scholarship Tourney, Hallock, Minn., 10 a.m., $40, four-person teams

Thursday July 11 - Heart of the Valley/Teambacker Tourney, Ada, Minn., $50, 1 p.m., five-person teams

Saturday July 20 - U of M, Crookston Teambacker Golf Classic, Crookston, Minn., 10 a.m., $85, five-person teams

Friday, July 27 - Hwy 2 Classic, includes 9 holes in Fosston, Minn., and 9 holes in Erskine, Minn., $40, five-person teams

To learn more about athletics at the U of M, Crookston, visit www.goldeneaglesports.com. 
Today the University of Minnesota Crookston delivers 28 bachelor's degree programs, 20 minors, and 39 concentrations on campus--as well as 11 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Bill Tyrrell, director, athletic fundraising, 218-281-8436 (btyrrell@umn.edu);Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)

MSCA Summer Tour and Trade Show in Roseau, Minn.

The Northwestern Stockmen's Association (NWSA) announces that it has been selected to host the 2013 Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association Summer Beef Tour and Trade Show.  Each year, a MSCA chapter showcases what it has to offer in terms of livestock facilities and operations, cattle handling techniques and practices, and other industry related enterprises to over 700 participants and vendors from around the state, region, and country. 
 
The MSCA Summer Beef Tour & Trade Show will be held July 9th, 2013 in Roseau, MN.  The Roseau County Fairgrounds will be the gathering location, with planned stops at Bear Creek Ranch, CarlSon Angus, Waage Farms, Isane Farms, Burkel Grain Service, Central Boiler, and Skime Ranch.  Registration begins at 6:00 a.m. with buses departing at 7:00, 7:10, and 7:20.  All meals will be provided on the tour.  Visit www.mnsca.org for registration information.
 
The University of Minnesota Extension will participate in the event through an exhibit at the Roseau County Fairgrounds staffed by Deborah Zak, Regional Director, Northwest, and Alfredo DiConstanzo, Extension Animal Scientist, University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus.

Contact: Deborah Zak, regional director, Northwest, Extension Regional Office, Crookston, 218-281-8684 or 1-888-241-0781

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